Feminism & Non-Binary vs. Chivalry

“Though I’m a big believer in gender equality, chivalry scores high in my book.” ~ Amy Plum, Die for Me

I was on the train today, commuting home from work.  I had had a particularly trying day at work, and I was hoping above all odds that I could find a seat on the train.  I was standing in front of a man who was with his daughter, and I heard him say to her that they would be getting off at the next stop.  I felt relieved knowing that I would be able to sit down after they left.  However, as they were getting up from their seat, another man, standing next to me, wormed his way past me, and sat down before I could take a seat, and while my attention was focused on him, another man came from my other side, and sat down in the other seat that was previously occupied by the little girl.

New Yorkers would tell me that it was my fault that I didn’t get a seat.  “You shoulda moved fastah!” they would say to me.  I suppose it is true – it is my fault – this is the city where if you blink, you lose an entire day.  This city definitely does not wait, and I already know this, but I really did not expect to to lose a seat to two grown-ass men.  Don’t men offer up their seat to women anymore?  Or is that from another long-gone era?  I wanted to snap a picture of the train car to show you what I saw that has destroyed my faith in chivalry: rows and rows of able-bodied men, sitting all in a row with their faces glued to their phones, and a fair number of women, some much older than sixty, standing.

Feminists will murder me for writing this, but I blame the feminist movement for the death of chivalry.  I suppose men feel that they no longer have to give up their seats to women, or hold open doors for us, and I mean why should they if women are marching for equal rights and equal treatment?  Doesn’t equal treatment mean that train seats and building doors are fair game, and the “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” mentality applies?  And furthermore, chivalry could never survive the whole gender-ambiguous, gender non-binary, and gender fluid movements. With all this confusion going on with M, F, and X designations, why should men even bother with chivalry?

Sunrises & Sunsets

“One day, I watched the sun setting forty-four times……You know…when one is so terribly sad, one loves sunsets.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

NASA astronauts at the International Space Stations (ISS) must never feel sad.  The ISS travels at a  pace of 17,100 miles per hour, which means that it orbits Earth every ninety minutes.  So the astronauts witness a sunrise every ninety minutes.  They witness a total of sixteen sunrises and sixteen sunsets a day.

I wonder if they ever tire of seeing this?

Fiery South Atlantic Sunset | Photo by NASA

I love sunrises and sunsets.  It is rare that I get to wake up early enough to witness a sunrise, but I do have a large collection of sunrise photos.  Here are a few:

Sunrise over the Bronx
Sunset in Athens, Greece
Sunset over Queens, New York

 

I have a lot more, and today I decided to organize all my photos.  They are scattered and saved everywhere, but as I was looking through the thousands of photos that I’ve taken over the years between my phone and real camera, I realized that a good portion of the photos I take involve some sort of sunrise or sunset.  Imagine if I was a NASA astronaut – I would be taking at least 32 photos a day, and I would never feel sad.

Try Again Next Year

“The danger of motherhood – you relive your early self, through the eyes of your mother.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates, The Gravedigger’s Daughter

Belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there, to all the mothers-to-be, to all the mothers of angel babies, and to all mothers who are struggling with infertility – you are all amazing.

My mom is in the Philippines, so I called her Saturday evening to greet her.  I wasn’t able to get through to her, but I did leave her a message on her phone.  By tonight (Sunday evening), I still have not been able to reach her.  It’s one of the many struggles of transatlantic communications – especially to a third-world country such as the Philippines.  While they are advanced technologically in the bigger cities like Manila, many of the outer provinces still have spotty telephone and internet service.  Unfortunately, the corruption in the government does not allow for a complete overhaul of the country’s infrastructure that is desperately needed.  There are still many areas even that do not have running water.

Surprisingly, the Philippines was one of the richest countries in Asia following WWII.  However, years of economic mismanagement and the corruption of the Ferdinand Marcos regime and martial law, led to the Philippines becoming one of the poorest in Asia.  Further economic stagnation and decline continued during the years even after Marcos due to political instability.  The country now largely survives on the money brought in by OFWs (overseas foreign workers), to the tune of approximately $31B/year.

My own mother’s day celebration was a bit of a disaster.  G had promised to make me breakfast, but in typical tweeny fashion, she wasn’t paying full attention, and was instead focusing on a video on her phone which she had placed on top of the kitchen counter, and she dropped a whole carton of eggs on the floor.  It took me nearly thirty minutes to fully clean up the gooey mess on the kitchen floor.  By then, I had lost my appetite, so I made oatmeal for us instead.

I took the opportunity to turn it in a lesson: Don’t half-ass anything in life.  Whatever you do, do it fully and with commitment.  

Lessons learned.  And, there’s always next year.

Texting

“As a medium, it’s safe to say, texting facilitates flakiness and rudeness and many other personality traits that would not be expressed in a phone call or an in-person interaction.” ~ Aziz Ansari, Modern Romance: An Investigation

My [lack of] texting etiquette may suggest that I am a rude person.  I’m not very good at responding to texts, and I’m not too keen on initiating them either.  I tend to leave people on “read” and generally take a long time to respond.

I am not like this because I am rude – I am like this because I haven’t quite [de]evolved to that level of social communication.

I grew up in the days of corded rotary phones.  I grew up during the time when phone calls during dinner were unimaginable, and phone calls placed before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. were considered bad manners.

Nowadays, chances are slim that I can spend an entire meal with a friend uninterrupted.  I could be sitting with a friend, having a nice conversation and a nice meal together, and everything would come to a screeching halt because she would get a text that she absolutely “must answer.”  Maybe she would only spending a minute or less doing this, but oftentimes, this same urgency to respond to text messages would happen a few more times during the course of the meal, and before you know it, she would have spent at least a quarter of the time looking into her phone, rather than being completely present with me.

Sadly, this societal behavior is what is considered “normal” these days.

Technology has made it so that the person in front of you comes second (or third, or fourth) and significantly less important than whomever is texting you.

And it seems no one these days care about what time they text you.  As soon as a thought comes into their mind – BOOM! – they text you, and it could be 1:00 p.m. or 10:30 at night, or 4:00 in the morning.  And worse, some people expect an immediate answer from you.  It’s the world of instant gratification.

A while ago, I received an angry text from a friend.  She had taken the time to write out a few paragraphs on text about how she was disappointed in me, and how she never expected that I would be so unsupportive.  Um, excuse me?  I had read her text, and I was so confused that I immediately thought she had texted the wrong person.  So, I did what she never thought to do herself: pick up the damn phone and DIAL MY NUMBER AND TALK TO ME.

I called her and she answered.  I asked her straight out what the hell was she talking about?  She said that she had texted me a few months ago to let me know that she was expecting a baby, and she was angry and hurt that I never acknowledged her pregnancy.

What in the actual freak???  Since when do people give LIFE-ALTERING news over text?

I told her the truth, which was that I did not receive that text, and that if I had, I surely would have CALLED her to congratulate her.  I really don’t get it, man.  Texting sucks.  I think it was designed to be able to pass brief, concise information quickly, like when you’re outside waiting for someone to arrive, and that person texts you to let you know they are running late.  I don’t think it was really designed to carry entire relationships, which, quite sadly, is how I think people use it.

photo credit: google images

Cinco de Mayo

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

With the exception of Saturday, this whole week was washed out because of the rain here in NYC.

 

 

It was just as well, I suppose, as this was another busy week here at work, and I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the outdoors anyway.  I wish I could tell you all what I’ve been working on, but the attorney-client privilege prevents me from doing so.  I’m working on such an interesting project, so I don’t even mind working such long hours, but I do wish that I could talk to someone about it.

Despite my busy schedule, I did manage to find time to go to the gym three times this week.  Now that the days are longer, I can still go early enough in the morning before work and not have it still be pitch black when I wake up.  G says I have lost weight, but I can still pinch some fat and skin on my sides, so I am determined to keep going.

Today was cinco de mayo, and in honor of the day, G and I made tacos.

I still believe that the French lost at Puebla to the Mexicans because they were blindsided by tacos.  I mean, who can resist such deliciousness?

Penguins

“They (penguins) then fall madly in love and live happily ever after.

And so you ask yourself: “If a penguin can have a worthwhile, stimulating relationship, why the hell can’t I?”

Or maybe you ask yourself: “Would I be happier if I started dating a penguin” ~ Bradley Trevor Greive, Looking for Mr. Right

Last week was a tough week.  I worked extremely long hours, even more than I usually do.  One night I was stuck at the office until 2:30 a.m., and then I was back at work by 8:00 a.m.  Thankfully, it was spring break for LittleG, and she was at her father’s house, so I did not have to worry about her.  However, I broke my gym streak and I did not work out even once last week.  Hopefully this week will be better.  Working out at the gym is my one real “vice” and I feel irritated and short-tempered when I don’t exercise.

I had lost a bet to a friend last week as well, and so I was obligated to perform an act of her choosing.  As luck or misfortune would have it, my obligation to fulfill the bet was to go on one date.  Where would I find a date?  She suggested that I create an online profile.

Over the years I had created dating profiles only to promptly remove them.  This time was no exception.  I find it unnatural to offer yourself up to others like an item on a restaurant menu, and to initially be judged by a few photos that only give a glimpse of who you really are.  I am definitely not judging those who do internet date, and I know it has been successful for many people.  I am speaking solely for myself, and for me, it feels unnatural.

And unsuccessful.  While I did get many likes and messages, they were mostly from old and fat men, and one lesbian who offered to paint my nude body.

Profile deleted.  I’ll have to find someone the old-fashioned way, I guess.  Does anyone date the traditional way any more?

Oh, and yesterday, LittleG officially became a young woman.  She got her first period, and as her mom, I congratulated her on her first step of her journey towards adulthood, but secretly, I cried for the end of her youth (and the official start of my old age).

Toxic

“Sometimes I wonder if we ever truly let anyone completely in. The desire for another human being to know you, all of you, all the pieces, even the ones you’re ashamed of — is huge. But too often, we sit down and sort through the pieces only picking out the pretty ones, leaving the ugly ones behind, not realizing that choosing not to share with someone else is like committing a crime against our very soul.” ~ Rachel Van Dyken, Toxic

I recently “met” someone on Twitter.  This person had started messaging me on Twitter a few months ago.  We had similar views on a few posts on Twitter, and after some time, we graduated to exchanging Instagram handles.  We started to exchange direct messages both on Instagram and Twitter, and for convenience, I suggested we exchange Whatsapp numbers.  We had chatted a few times on Whatsapp, and after feeling a bit more open with this person, I broke protocol and shared this site.

I suppose this person read through all my prior posts, and decided afterwards that I am just too “toxic” and too much of a “hot mess” (their words, not mine) and promptly deleted me from their Instagram, and then put up a post about staying away from “emotionally unavailable” people.

I totally respect this person’s opinion of me, however wrong I think they may be.  For one, I never pursued any type of relationship with this person.  Two, while I said that I am a “broken” person, I never said I was a “hot mess,” as they claim I did, and lastly, I am far from being “emotionally unavailable.”  My problem is that I am in fact too emotionally present, such that I am actually much too deep for anyone not strong enough to grasp my level of thought and passion.

I just wish this person had the courage to face me and tell me what they thought of me, instead of being a coward and just deleting me and leaving some cryptic post.  I wrote what I wrote in these pages – my thoughts, my words – right or wrong, and if that makes me toxic in someone’s eyes, then so be it.  I will not apologize for or change who I am.

Football > Golf

“Soccer forces life to move on. There’s always a new match. A new season. There’s always a dream that everything can get better. It’s a game of wonders.” ~ Fredrik Backman, Britt-Marie var här

I had a mini-debate with a friend the other day.  He asked me who do I think is the most popular athlete of our time.  I answered, “Cristiano Ronaldo.”  He said, “No way.  I think it’s Tiger Woods.”

Who do you guys think is more popular?  I’m interested to hear answers from people outside of the U.S.

Our Lady of Paris

“Just imagine! In the early nineteenth century, this cathedral was in such a state of disrepair that the city considered tearing it down. Luckily for us, Victor Hugo heard about the plans to destroy it and wrote The Hunchback of Notre-Dame to raise awareness of its glorious history. And, by golly, did it work! Parisians campaigned to save it, and the building was repaired and polished to the pristine state you find today.” ~ Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss

I am devastated at the damage done by the fire at the Notre Dame cathedral.

My daughter and I love visiting cathedrals.  It was always our thing.  When we went to Italy last year and the year before, we visited as many churches and cathedrals as we could.  It has been over twenty years since I was in Paris, and I was planning to take my daughter there to see the Notre Dame.  We had planned for next spring.

The loss of history is immeasurable.

48

“I count too heavily on birthdays, though I know I shouldn’t. Inevitably I begin to assess my life by them, figure out how I’m doing by how many people remember; it’s like the old fantasy of attending your own funeral: You get to see who your friends are, get to see who shows up. ” ~ Lorrie Moore, Anagrams

I reached my 48th year of life this past week.  Just saying the numbers “forty eight”… it sounds so old.  Of course if you are reading this, and you are past 48, you will think, “oh, please, 48 is so young!” in the way that I think that about someone who is say, 40 or younger.

It was an ordinary day for me, not unlike any other day.  I woke up early, went to the gym, showered (and dressed a little smarter since it was my birthday), and went to work.  No one at work knew it was my birthday, and I was ok with that. I did appreciate the handful of greetings I received from my old friends who simply remembered my birthday without the help of Facebook or some other social media site to remind them.

After work, a friend took me to Fred’s, a high-end restaurant inside Barney’s on Madison Avenue.  We love to go there as it is a great place for food, drinks, and celebrity-watching.

Sure enough, we found ourselves seated to none other than Vera Wang.

I read somewhere that she is nearly seventy years old.  She looks like she’s around my age.

To my right was Cybill Shepherd, or at least someone who looked very much like her.  I was not able to capture a photo of her as it would have been too obvious (and rude).  I wanted so badly to tell her how much I loved her and Bruce Willis in Moonlighting, but the truth is, these celebrities deserve some privacy and to not be bothered, especially at dinner, so I decided to leave her and Vera alone.

My friend told the staff that it was my birthday, so they quietly wished me a happy birthday.

When I was about to blow out the candle, they said, “Make a wish!”

I could not really think of a wish, so I just blew out the candle.

Being alive at 48 is a gift in itself.  I do not need anything more.